VIDEO: Finland set to close north-eastern borders with Russia to prevent asylum seekers crossing

Thursday 23 November 2023

Finland has announced it will be closing the majority of its northern borders with Russia as they seek to clamp down on asylum seekers heading into the rest of Europe.

Finnish Prime Minister Petteri Orpo said on Wednesday that as of the end of Friday, only its northernmost border crossing with Russia, Raja-Jooseppi, will remain open.

They claim Russia is intentionally pushing refugees and migrants to the border, with Finland already shutting four of its eastern border checkpoints last week.

Video from a governor of the Russian border city Murmansk shows showing long queues of cars on a night road and people getting fed in tents.

European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex said on Thursday it will send more officers and other staff to the Scandinavian country next week.

Since the beginning of the month, more than 600 people without valid travel documents to the European Union have come to Finland via Russia, prompting Helsinki to shut several crossings and accuse Moscow of funnelling migrants. The Kremlin denies the charge.

Since the beginning of the month, more than 600 people without valid travel documents to the European Union have come to Finland via Russia

The asylum seekers come from a range of nations including Yemen, Afghanistan, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria

The asylum seekers come from a range of nations including Yemen, Afghanistan, Kenya, Morocco, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria, according to immigration authorities.

Finland joined NATO in April after decades of military non-alignment and pragmatic friendly relations with Moscow. Its border with Russia serves as the European Union’s external border and makes up NATO’s northeastern flank.

Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that Russian authorities are ready to work together with Finnish officials to reach an agreement on the border issue. Finland should have “put forward its concerns to work out a mutually acceptable solution or receive explanation”, she argued.

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